Next time you visit your doctor and find some fees have gone up, please do not blame your doctor or the practice staff.
Thank Tony Abbott for it.
The Federal Government is refusing to increase Medicare patient rebates in line with the cost of living until 2018.
Doctors and medical organisations have lobbied the Government for months to lift the freeze, with no result.
AMA President, Professor Brian Owler, said that the ongoing indexation freeze of Medicare patient rebates is placing further pressure on the viability of many medical practices, especially general practices, and forcing patients to pay higher out-of-pocket costs for their health care.
1 July 2015 is the third anniversary of the Medicare rebate freeze.
There has been no increase to Medicare patient rebates for consultations and operations since 2012.
While the Medicare rebate indexation remains at zero, the latest Consumer Price Index (CPI) is at 1.3 per cent, the Wage Price Index (WPI) is at 2.3 per cent, and the ABS reports an increase in Hospital and Medical Costs of 6.5 per cent.
“The rebate indexation freeze is a co-payment by stealth, and it is currently planned to continue until 1 July 2018,” Professor Owler said.
“The freeze is delivering savings of $1.3 billion over four years to the Government.
“This funding shortfall has to be met by patients and practices.
“While the rebates have remained unchanged, the costs of providing quality medical services continue to rise.
“Practice costs such as wages for practice staff, rent, electricity, technology, and insurance are increasing every year.
“Medical practices cannot absorb these increasing costs for six years in a row and remain viable.”
The AMA will continue lobbying the Government to lift the Medicare rebate freeze as early as possible.
What you can do:
• Contact your local MP, Catherine.King.MP@aph.gov.au
• Complain to Prime Minister Tony Abbott www.pm.gov.au/contact-your-pm
Support your doctor and your practice to lift the freeze on your Medicare rebate.